Daughter of the Dragon: Anna May Wong’s Rendezvous with American History

Highbridge Audio. (Rendezvous with American History). Oct. 2023. 13:16 hrs. ISBN 9781696613101. $19.99. BIOG
Huang (English, Univ. of California, Santa Barbara; Inseparable) concludes the trilogy that began with an examination of fictional detective Charlie Chan and continued with the story of conjoined twins Chang and Eng Bunker. Here he focuses on Hollywood luminary Anna May Wong (1905–61), often called the first Chinese American movie star. Wong made a brief onscreen appearance at age 14 and, incredibly, just three years later, starred in the first technicolor film. Despite this early Hollywood success, she eventually grew tired of losing parts to white actors wearing yellowface and moved to Europe, where she achieved even greater fame. Huang’s account of Wong’s rise (from the daughter of a poor laborer to international film star in a time of rampant prejudice against Asian Americans) is riveting, and the historical background of the burgeoning Hollywood film industry and the wider Chinese American experience is equally gripping. Narrator Rebecca Lam’s gentle voice, empathetic delivery, and steady pacing allow listeners to absorb the wealth of biographical, cultural, and historical details and highlight Wong’s grit, determination, and sacrifice.
VERDICT Cinema and history buffs alike will enjoy this engaging tale of a Chinese American cultural icon.
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